Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

The little bird grew up in the safety of her mother’s nest, yet she heard many warnings from Momma Bird about the dangerous, black snake lurking nearby. “It is sneaky, it is bad, it will slither up and eat you, so never go near it,” she warned.

However, as time passed, the little bird noticed the “dangerous” snake never moved. Its length looked intimidating; however, its motionlessness made it seem harmless. Besides, she was learning to fly—it could never reach her.

As she grew and flew, the little bird’s fear diminished. She even ignored the snake as she passed harmlessly above it time and again. Her mother must have been wrong. The snake didn’t move. The snake couldn’t reach her. The snake couldn’t harm her, so why be afraid or cautious?

One day the little bird spotted a delicious earthworm crawling in the dirt near to where the black snake lay. Her hunger overrode any remaining fear from her mother’s warnings. Without a second thought, she flew down, hopped up to the earthworm, and soon held it in her beak.

Unfortunately the little bird’s eroded fear and ignorance toward her mother’s warnings were her undoing. Before she could swallow the worm, the black snake silently and viciously struck, wrapping the helpless and naïve bird in its fatal grasp.

Sin represents that snake. Throughout life, we are warned about it from Scripture, pastors, teachers, parents, and sometimes friends. They caution against the dangers of sin, of rebellion, of willful and reckless desires: sin is dangerous, sin is harmful, avoid sin at all costs. Yet, as time passes, nothing drastic happens as we dance along the precipice of sin, so our fear fades and resistance erodes. Until the day we gasp for air against sin’s tight grasp. It has us far from where we should be and involved in things we never dreamed of doing.

We often forget our enemy is deceptive, patient, and on the prowl—seeking those who ignore the warnings. He tempts us to “live a little,” “push the boundaries,” dabble with this or that worldly vice, live undisciplined lives, and to fly as close as we can to sin’s snake. We boast, “It’ll never happen to me,” then discover too late, its deceptive stroke and destructive outcome.

How can we avoid or overcome our enemy’s deceitful attacks? Proverbs offers a few wise tips:

  • Accept and embrace God’s counsel. “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (1:7)
  • Prioritize God above all else. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (9:10)
  • Recognize that your desires may be wrong. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (14:12)
  • Don’t always trust your heart. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” (28:26)
  • Involve God in all your choices and decisions. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” (3:5-7)

Oh, God; may I trust You and Your Word wholly. May I lean on You and seek Your way, Your truth, and Your life instead of the foolish, sinful, destructive desires of my deceptive heart. God, create in me a disgust for anything the world has to offer. Create a distaste for worldly pleasures. Yes, Father, create in me a hunger and thirst only for You and let nothing else satisfy me ever so briefly. Grant me eyes that see only You, ears that hear only You, hands that serve only You, feet that follow only You, a mind that seeks only You, and a heart that loves only You. You are mine; I am Yours.